The COVID-19 crisis has for a long time left global public health care delivery at a standstill. The spread of the virus and its consequences have overburdened all sectors of the healthcare industry and it has been quite a puzzling year for many with the absolute chaos that has brought immense loss. However, the healthcare workers have consistently put up a fight and adapted to the evolving circumstances. The efforts have resulted in breakthroughs that have morphed the provision and accessibility of quality and efficient healthcare. Where Covid created many restrictions, it also brought out many new initiatives and new use of same tech differently. Technology is synchronizing with health care tools. Today, we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by digital technology which has helped us in every aspect of life to combat the hurdles placed by the outbreak.
This has been true for the healthcare sector as well and it has in many ways transformed patient care delivery. With standardized health information systems and electronic medical records, digital technology has made it possible for seamless flows of information about patient data and the virus itself. It has also made healthcare workers remotely and easily accessible to meet the unmet needs of health seekers with telemedicine. The application of Artificial Intelligence within digital technology in the healthcare sector has been particularly noteworthy. Artificial intelligence has reinvented healthcare and intelligent machines can now process, analyze, interpret and present complex medical information and data in a simplified manner.
Artificial Intelligence has been prevalent in business and technology for the past few decades and as healthcare digitized over time, harnessing it has been very beneficial. It is exponentially increasing and rapidly simplifying health care for the payers, providers and even the hospital administrators. For instance, it has proven to be a tool to diminish the incidence of a misdiagnosis. In 2015, about 10% of deaths were calculated to have occurred because of a misjudgment by medical experts. With the use of AI, the prediction and diagnosis of a disease has been more efficient for the medical professionals, allowing them to mitigate any risks that come to play.
The artificial intelligence marker in the healthcare sector was valued at US$ 3,991.23 million in 2019 and it is projected to reach US$ 107,797.82 million by 2027; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 49.8% from 2020 to 2027. AI applications are under trial for increased accuracy in cancer diagnoses, blood diseases, interpretation of radiographs and EKGs. Biopharmaceuticals are applying it to enhance drug development. Applications are also being developed for improving hospital administrations, with AI being used for patient flow optimization, tailored healthcare plans and increasing the access to healthcare providers. Digitization of Healthcare in some countries has provided a lot of digital data that can provide for mitigated hospital related risks.
Pakistan has also embarked on its journey to incorporate AI into the healthcare sector. Research is being conducted at The Aga Khan University Hospital platform where they are assessing the use of an algorithm to analyze the development of organs in a foetus with data collected by ultrasound imaging to assess risks associated with birth and stillbirths. In other research AI is being utilized to improve patient experience with data collected from the patient’s in the emergency room, along with data being sifted through demographics. In addition, there is research being carried out on bridging Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence for efficient understanding and applications in the fields of psychiatry and neuro-prosthetics.
As of 2018, data from the World Bank development indicators reports that 0.9801 Physicians per 1000 people are present in Pakistan. With most of them concentrated in the urban areas, there is significant improvement to be made for better provision of public healthcare throughout the country. Artificial Intelligence along with digital technology in this Internet Age could and will prove to be an important tool in revamping the healthcare system.
It gives an opportunity to access remote areas, to provide quality healthcare from a centralized platform to tackle prevailing diseases and quite possibly putting an end to endemics such as the Polio in the country. With the correct efforts, improvement of the quality of life for our citizens and the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, can be achieved with the powerhouse that is Artificial Intelligence.